Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 13:1

Now Joshua was old and advanced in years when the Lord said to him, "You are old and advanced in years, and very much of the land remains to be possessed.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Torrey's Topical Textbook - Theocracy, the, or Immediate Government by God;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Caleb;   Joshua the son of nun;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Joshua, Theology of;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Joshua, the Book of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Aging;   Canaan, History and Religion of;   Conquest of Canaan;   Joshua, the Book of;   Shihor;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Joshua;   Priests and Levites;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Joshua (2);   Joshua, Book of;   Year;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gentile;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for December 31;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Joshua was old - He is generally reputed to have been at this time about a hundred years of age: he had spent about seven years in the conquest of the land, and is supposed to have employed about one year in dividing it; and he died about ten years after, aged one hundred and ten years. It is very likely that he intended to subdue the whole land before he made the division of it among the tribes; but God did not think proper to have this done. So unfaithful were the Israelites that he appears to have purposed that some of the ancient inhabitants should still remain to keep them in check, and that the respective tribes should have some labor to drive out from their allotted borders the remains of the Canaanitish nations.

There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed - That is, very much when compared with that on the other side Jordan, which was all that could as yet be said to be in the hands of the Israelites.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Joshua is bidden to allot the whole of the promised land among the twelve tribes in faith that God would perfect in due time that expulsion of the Canaanites which Joshua himself could not carry further (see Joshua 11:23).

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-13.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Here begins the second half of the Book of Joshua, the half which relates the division of the land of Canaan among the children of Israel. Scholars are still advocating all kinds of alleged "sources" for this material and at least a half dozen dates for the time when it was written. One insurmountable fact is that Israel accepted these divisions as originating with God Himself through Moses and Joshua, and despite the Israelites' character of never having been able to get along with any other nation in human history, the twelve tribes accepted these divisions, and as far as we have been able to determine never, even one time, engaged in quarrels, disagreements, or wars among themselves over the undisputed boundaries of their possessions! Could such a thing have happened if the origin of these divisions had been otherwise than as indicated in this chapter?

"Who actually made the divisions? Who made the allocations? Joshua 13:7 suggests that it was Joshua; Joshua 14:1 that it was Eleazer the priest and the heads of families; Joshua 14:5 that it was the people as a whole. These, however, are not mutually exclusive."[1]

We may even go a bit further and declare that it was God who made the allocations, by His determination of the issue in the casting of lots. "The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of Jehovah" (Proverbs 16:33).

Regarding alternative allegations regarding the date and authorship of these chapters, there is, as yet, no agreement whatever among the scholars and critics. Every seminary has its own theory, and as "prestigious" theologians are replaced by others just as "prestigious," these theories are fluid, constantly changing and being replaced by more theories just as fluid. If one does not wish to be contradicted by the new theories that will be current 10 years from now, let him accept the time-tested understanding of JOSHUA's authorship, as advocated here. Nothing can destroy the conviction of the great majority of mankind that for thousands of years has ascribed these writings to Joshua. Concerning all the suggestions as to alternative dates and authors, Blair also commented that, "On the evidence available, it is difficult to come to any conclusion; ...the basic form of these divisions dates back to the conquest."[2]

These detailed boundaries and scores of particular places mentioned here, "Were vital for the tribes themselves, for these were the title-deeds of their inheritance."[3] We shall not be concerned with a discussion of each one of the places mentioned here, because, as John Calvin said, "Great labor (on that project) would produce little fruit to the reader."[4] About one-fourth of all the place-names given here are absolutely "unknown."[5] Several of them are the grounds of contention among archeologists, with some claiming one site, and others another site, as the location of a given city. Besides that, in a number of other cases, there are as many as four towns with the same name! The important thing is that the people concerned did know and did understand the boundaries which are here outlined. Before moving to a study of the Sacred Text itself, we take time to notice the following:

"The whole land has been subdued (Joshua 11:23-12), but here we read that even in Joshua's old age there remained "very much land to be possessed." This plainly comes through from an older source than Joshua 12, and is very much nearer the true state of things. The later writer, however, in order to bring the statement into harmony with what was written in Joshua 12, proceeds to explain the phrase "very much land" by referring it to distant places in the West and in the North, some of which never came into the possession of Israel at all."[6]

We have included this comment, not for any value in it, there being none at all, but for the purpose of showing the biased and fallacious reasoning of critics. Note that Holmes says that the later writer brought the place into harmony with what was already written, but how could he know that it was not the original author himself who brought about the harmony? Furthermore, the "very much land" in the North and West had already been identified with that Canaan which God promised the Israelites even from the days of Abraham and the later patriarchs! Sure, Israel did not finally possess all of it, but that will be fully explained under Joshua 13:6, below. God's promise to "drive them out" was never an unconditional declaration, but it was always contingent upon Israel's obedience and cooperation, neither of which God received.

Dean Stanley described this portion of the Book of Joshua, as, "The Domesday Book," comparing it to the book of that name which was compiled by William the Conquerer (1085-1086). However, Plummer pointed out the essential differences in the books,[7] but, as far as God's intention of destroying the occupants of Israel's remaining possessions was concerned, it was indeed the Doomsday Book. That Israel failed to carry out God's intention in this matter did not change God's purpose.

The conflict with which we are confronted here in the view of "a task well done" as contrasted "with much yet left to do," is a fact of all life, especially in the spiritual sector. This experience of the secular Israel is a type of the Christian Church, or a type of the human heart.

"The work of subduing God's enemies is gradual. One successful engagement does not conclude the war. The enemy renews his assaults, and when force fails, he tries fraud. When direct temptations are of no avail, he resorts to enticements. The victory belongs only to him who has learned to keep guard over himself, and to direct his ways to the counsels of God."[8]

"Now Joshua was old and well stricken in years; and Jehovah said unto him, Thou art old and well stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. This is the land that yet remaineth: all the region of the Philistines, and all the Geshurites; from the Shihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the border of Ekron northward, which is reckoned to the Canaanites; the five lords of the Philistines; the Gazites, and the Ashdodites, the Ashkelonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avvim, on the south; all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that belongeth to the Sidonians, unto Aphek, to the border of the Amorites; and the land of the Gebalites, and all Lebanon toward the sunrising, from Baal-gad under mount Hermon unto the entrance of Hamath; all the inhabitants of the hill-country from Lebanon unto Misrephoth-maim, even all the Sidonians; them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only allot thou it unto Israel for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee. Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance unto the nine tribes and the half tribe of Manasseh."

"Thou art old ..." (Joshua 13:1). "Joshua was 110 years old the year he died (Joshua 24:29); so he must have been more than 90 years old at this time."[9] If one wonders why the age of Joshua is stressed here, "It was a principal reason why he should speedily apply himself to the dividing of that which he had conquered."[10] Henry further observed that, "All people, but especially old people, should set themselves to do quickly that which must be done before they die, lest death prevent them."[11] "Joshua's original commission required that he should `divide the land' to Israel, and his advanced age was a special reason for discharging that duty at once."[12]

"Joshua 13:2-3 name the still unconquered areas in the south, and Joshua 13:4-5, and Joshua 13:6 name those in the north."[13]

"Sihor ..." (Joshua 13:3). "This word originally referred to the Nile river. Here, however, it is located east of Egypt and apparently designates the southern border of Canaan .... the Brook of Egypt (Wady el-'Arish).[14]

"From the south ..." (Joshua 13:4). This connects with what precedes."[15] "This indicates the southern limit of the still unconquered territory, and Joshua 13:3 gives the northern limit."[16] Jamieson pointed out the wisdom of putting these limits and boundaries on record, "As in any case of misunderstanding or dispute about the exact limits of each district of property an appeal could always be made to this authoritative document."[17] This southern limit included the Mediterranean coast as far as the Brook of Egypt. The northern limit was to Aphek, to the border of the Amorites. "This was the Aphek in the allotment to Asher, and the `border of the Amorites' was the northern boundary of the territory of Bashan."[18] We learn from these same sources that Aphek was the site of the Syrian temple of Astarte, dedicated to her as mourning for Tammuz, the ruins of which are still visible. It is not believed that Asher ever actually occupied the territory this far.

"Them will I drive out from before the children of Israel ..." (Joshua 13:6). This was by no means an unconditional promise. Despite this, some people have taken upon themselves to deny the authenticity of Divine revelation on this matter, affirming that, "God promised that Joshua should conquer the whole land,"[19] and then, of course, it did not happen! Again from Clarke, "This is a total mistake."[20] God never absolutely, or UNCONDITIONALLY, promised to put Israel in possession of the whole land of Canaan. The promise of their possessing it DEPENDED upon their fidelity to God. They were NOT faithful, but rebelled against God repeatedly, and that is why Israel actually failed to possess great portions of the promised land. Furthermore, they did not drive out the Canaanites, even where they did possess it, and eventually Israel was seduced and corrupted by the pagan worship that surrounded them to such a degree, and in such an aggravated sense, that God removed Israel, absolutely, and altogether, from their status of being God's Chosen People. From the days of Hosea, and afterward, Israel's status was that of a "slave" and not that of a wife, in the house of God. Read Hosea, especially the 9th chapter. (Also see our full discussion of this question in Vol. 2 of my series on the minor prophets.) "If Israel, through sloth, or cowardice, or affection to those idolaters (of Canaan), sit still and let them alone, they must blame themselves, and not God, if they be not driven out."[21] Although Israel never held all of the land described by these boundaries, this chapter shows that ALL of Canaan was indeed promised by God to Israel, contingent only upon their obedience and cooperation, neither of which they gave.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/joshua-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Now Joshua was old, and stricken in years,.... How old he was cannot be said precisely, but it is very probable he was now about an hundred years of age, for he lived to be an hundred ten; and the land of Canaan was seven years in dividing, as the Jews generally say, and it seems as if he did not live long after that:

and the Lord said unto him: either spoke to him out of the tabernacle, or appeared to him in a dream or vision:

thou art old, and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed: that is, very much of the land of Canaan, which God had promised to Abraham, yet remained unconquered by Joshua, and unpossessed by the children of Israel; and the old age of Joshua is observed, to intimate to him that through it, and the infirmities of it, he was unable to go out to war, and to finish this work, which must be left to be done by others hereafter; and that he should with all expedition set about another work he was capable of doing, before he died, which was the division of the land among the tribes of Israel.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-13.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Now Joshua was old [and] a stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old [and] stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be b possessed.

(a) Being almost a hundred and ten years old.

(b) After the enemies are overcome.

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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-13.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Joshua 13:1-33. Bounds of the land not yet conquered.

Now Joshua was old and stricken in years — He was probably above a hundred years old; for the conquest and survey of the land occupied about seven years, the partition one; and he died at the age of one hundred ten years (Joshua 24:29). The distribution, as well as the conquest of the land, was included in the mission of Joshua; and his advanced age supplied a special reason for entering on the immediate discharge of that duty; namely, of allocating Canaan among the tribes of Israel - not only the parts already won, but those also which were still to be conquered.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-13.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

This Chapter begins with the account of the division of Canaan, to the several tribes of Israel. After the subjugation and conquest of the promised land, the Lord's promise is to be fulfilled in the enjoyment of it. A remarkable event is recorded in this chapter well worth the record, in order to manifest the. fulfillment of divine judgments, as well as mercies; and that is, the death of Balaam the sorcerer, whose awful history hath this termination.

Joshua 13:1

Reader! are you old in the account of nature? Are you aged in the account of grace? Methinks I would wish to ask my heart these questions, while reading the account of Joshua. But Reader! whether old or young, do not fail to remark the kindness of Joshua ' s God to him. Joshua though old, perhaps required to be put in mind that he and Caleb were the only souls now surviving, which were numbered at Mount Sinai. Was it not gracious in God to remind him of it? And is it not profitable to all, when God enables us so to number our days, as to apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalms 90:12.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-13.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.

Thou art old — Therefore delay not to do the work which I have commanded thee to do. It is good for those that are stricken in years, to be remembered that they are so: that they may be quickened to do the work of life, and prepare for death which is coming on apace.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-13.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 13:1 Now Joshua was old [and] stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old [and] stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.

Ver. 1. Thou art old and stricken in years,] q.d., Thou hast not long to do; up therefore and be doing; work while it is yet day; the night of death cometh, when none can work. Divide what thou hast conquered, yea, that which is yet to be conquered, among the tribes; for all is theirs, unless they forget their charter. See the true Christian’s charter, which he cannot forfeit. [1 Corinthians 3:22-23]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-13.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 1. Now Joshua was old and stricken in years By assigning to Joshua the same age with Caleb, it is easy to justify what the sacred historian says; for Caleb was now eighty-five years old, ch. Joshua 14:10. Joshua, however, is commonly made to be more, for reasons drawn from the chronology of the time which elapsed from the departure out of Egypt, till the building of the temple of Solomon. See Bedford's Script. Chronol. b. v. c. 2. We suppose him, with the generality of interpreters, to have been about one hundred years of age; for, allowing him to have been forty-five when he left Egypt, if we add to them the forty years spent in the wilderness, and the seven which it took him to conquer the land of Canaan, we shall find him to be ninety-two years of age at the end of the war. Now he lived one hundred and ten years; so that, according to our supposition, he must have made the division of the country seven or eight years after the conquest. See Vignoles, tom. 1: p. 1-16.

And the Lord said unto him, Thou art old, &c.— It is evident that Joshua meditated new conquests: to divert him from which, God leads him to reflect on his great age; as if he had said, "Although a part of the country which I promised to give unto my people remains still to be conquered, yet it is time to make a division of the whole. If this people keep my covenant, I will fully perform my promises; but, in the mean time, it is proper to exercise their faith, and try their submission." God had never promised Joshua that he should conquer the whole land of Canaan; but only, that he should bring his people into it, Deuteronomy 31:23 and divide its territories among them, ch. Joshua 1:6. On the one hand, his great age no longer allowed him to bear the fatigues of war; and, on the other, it invited him to a speedy division of the country among the children of Israel, in order to prevent, by his authority, all contest and ground of discontent among them.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-13.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

JOSHUA CHAPTER 13

God makes known to Joshua the bounds of the land not yet conquered, Joshua 13:1-6; commands it to be divided among the nine tribes and a half, Joshua 13:7. The inheritance of the two tribes and a half on the other side Jordan, Joshua 13:8-13. The Lord and his sacrifices the inheritance of Levi, Joshua 13:14. The portion of the Reubenites, Joshua 13:15-23; of the Gadites, Joshua 13:24-28; of the half tribe of Manasseh, Joshua 13:29-32.

Thou art old, therefore delay not to do the work which I have appointed and commanded thee to do.

To be possessed; to be conquered, and so possessed by the people.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-13.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

LIST OF UNCONQUERED CITIES AND DISTRICTS, Joshua 13:1-6.

1.Joshua was old — It was time for Joshua to be placed on the retired lists. Since he could not vigorously carry on the war, and no great captain had been raised up, it was deemed by God better that the delicate question of division should be made by Joshua, whose influence and authority would go far towards an amicable partition of the land. Joshua was now about one hundred years old.

[Much land to be possessed — The writer proceeds (Joshua 13:2-6) to name the unconquered districts. Joshua had effectually subdued Palestine, and gained for Israel a firm and lasting foothold there. It does not militate against this fact that there remained still unsubdued a number of scattered cities and provinces in various parts of the land. See note on Joshua 11:23. It is usual, when a land is invaded and subdued, for the unconquered tribes to forsake the plains and seek refuge in the hills; but the unconquered nations here enumerated abode chiefly in the plains.]

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-13.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Joshua was probably in his80s at this time.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/joshua-13.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 13:1. Now Joshua was old — To what age Joshua was advanced we cannot determine, because we do not know how old he was when the Israelites came out of Egypt. Some think he was three and forty at that time, and then he was fourscore and three when they came into Canaan. And now, it may be gathered from probable conjectures, that he wanted not much of a hundred. And, in this declining age, he could not hope to live to conquer what remained of the land unsubdued, and therefore he was to go about another business, namely, the dividing of it. The Lord said unto him, Thou art old — Therefore delay not to do the work which I have commanded thee to do. It is good for those that are stricken in years to be reminded that they are so; that they may be quickened to do the work of life, and prepare for death, which is coming on apace.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-13.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Age. Josue was now 100 years old. He lived ten more, (Calmet) having governed the people in all 17. (Haydock) --- During the first seven years, he had performed all that could be expected from an able general, and he probably designed to conquer the whole country before he divided it. But God, who chose to leave some of the ancient inhabitants in the country, to try the fidelity of his people, &c., ordered him to proceed to the distribution, that the different tribes might take care to exterminate those idolaters, who might be found in their territory. --- Lot. Hebrew, "to be possessed." Only the country east of the Jordan was yet divided.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

old and stricken in years. Figure of speech, Synonymic. App-6. Joshua, now in his 101st year (1544).

the 8 LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

said. See note on Joshua 3:7.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.

Now Joshua was old and stricken in years. He was probably more than 100 years old; because the conquest and survey of the land occupied about 7 years, the partition one; and he died at the age of 110 years (Joshua 24:29). The distribution, as well as the conquer of the land, was included in the mission of Joshua; and his advanced age supplied a special reason for entering on the immediate discharge of that duty-namely, of allocating Canaan among the tribes of Israel, not only the parts already won, but those also which were still to be conquered.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-13.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.
A. M. 2560. B.C. 1444. An. Ex. Is. 47. Joshua
14:10; 23:1,2; 24:29; Genesis 18:11; 1 Kings 1:1; Luke 1:7
to be possessed
Heb. to possess it.
Deuteronomy 31:3
Reciprocal: Genesis 35:22 - Now the sons;  Leviticus 14:34 - which I;  Joshua 12:7 - Joshua gave;  Joshua 20:1 - spake;  Psalm 136:21 - GeneralEzekiel 48:29 - General

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-13.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed."Joshua 13:1

This is no threat. This is no sentence of discouragement. This indeed is inspiration.—It is true of every department of life. It is true, for example, of a man"s own individuality: every man is not yet master of his entire self: some men have possessed themselves of their whole reason who have yet left their imagination unchastened and unsubdued.—Many men are chaste who are not generous. Many men are generous who are not just. Many men are impulsively good who are not rationally benevolent.—Such men may say to themselves, "There is yet very much land to be possessed."—It is true with all intellectual education.—He knows best how much land is yet to be conquered who has conquered the most.—The advanced student is the most modest.—The wisest man is most assured of his ignorance.—Sir Isaac Newton said that he was like a child on the seashore who gathered a few pebbles, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before him.—It is true with regard to the spread of the kingdom of Christ.—Take a map of the world, and show where Christianity has made progress, and where it is unknown; and even the imagination will be appalled by the extent of land yet to be covered.—We need not rest because there is no more to be done.—We do not obliterate what is to be done by closing our eyes and resolutely refusing to look upon it. The infinite darkness is still round about us, and is not at all decreased by the closing of our eyes.—But instead of the text being a discouragement, it is an encouragement; the land is there in order that it may be possessed; it is not afar off and inaccessible, but is immediately in front of us, and is intended for our use; we may have to obtain possession through battle and even through suffering, but the battle and the suffering do not destroy the possibility of possession.—What is worth holding that has not to be secured through suffering and loss of a temporary kind? The kingdom of heaven itself lies at the end of a strait road; but the very straitness of the road gives some hint of the value of the kingdom.—The Church must enter into a full realisation of the fact that the work yet to be done is greater than any work that has yet been accomplished: it is not an acre that awaits conquest, but a whole continent; not a whole continent only, but a whole world.—The work to be done enlarges in proportion to the work that is done.—If the work were superficial only, it might be completed with comparative ease, but it is cubic, solid, through-and-through work, and, therefore, it is difficult, but its difficulty is an indication of its glory.

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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/joshua-13.html. 1885-95.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

1.Now Joshua was old, etc (127) Since we have seen above that the land was pacified by the subjugation of thirty-one kings, it is probable that some cessation now took place for the purpose of resting from their fatigues, lest the people should be worn out by continual service. Nor could that justly be blamed, provided they rested only for a time and continued always intent on the goal set before them. But lest that intermission which was given for the purpose of recruiting new vigor might prove an occasion of sloth, the Lord employs a new stimulus to urge them to proceed. For he orders the whole inheritance to be divided into tribes, and the whole line of the Mediterranean coast which was possessed by the enemy to be put into the lot. A division of this kind might indeed seem absurd and ludicrous, nay, a complete mockery, seeing they were dealing among themselves with the property of others just as if it had been their own. But the Lord so appointed for the best of reasons. First, they might have cast away the hope of the promise and been contented with their present state. Nay, although after the lot was cast they had security in full for all that God had promised, they by their own cowardice, as far as in them lay, destroyed the credit of his words. Nor was it owing to any merit of theirs that his veracity did not lie curtailed and mutilated. The allocation by lot must therefore have been to them an earnest of certain possession so as to keep them always in readiness for it. Secondly, Those who happened to have their portion assigned in an enemy’s country, inasmuch as they were living in the meanwhile as strangers on precarious hospitality beyond their own inheritance, must have acted like a kind of task-masters spurring on the others. And it surely implied excessive stupor to neglect and abandon what had been divinely assigned to them.

We now see to what intent the whole land behooved to be divided by lot, and the seat of each tribe allocated. It was also necessary that this should be done while Joshua was alive, because after his death the Israelites would have been less inclined to obedience, for none of his successors possessed authority sufficient for the execution of so difficult a task. Moreover, as God had already by the mouth of Moses commanded it to be done, had he not performed the business thus committed to him, the whole work might have gone to wreck when the lawful minister was removed. Although the exact time is not stated, still it is probable that as there was no hope that while Joshua continued alive the people would again take up arms with the view of giving a wider extent to their boundaries, he then only attempted to divide the land, as if he were proclaiming and promising, by a solemn attestation, that the distribution would certainly be carried into effect, because the truth of God could not fail in consequence of the death of any man.

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 13:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-13.html. 1840-57.